I have to really keep myself in check to not immediately fast forward to the last track on Strange Frame Of Mind which is the excellent Focus cover Hocus Pocus. That would do injustice to the original material of the Norwegian band Arabs In Aspic who, on their third album, treat us to old-fashioned keyboard-driven prog. The songs aren't that long so these guys, Jostein Smeby (guitar & vocals), Stig Jorgenson (keys & vocals), Erik Paulsen (bass & vocals) and Eskil Nyhus (drums & percussion), do their business fast-sometimes too fast because you would have liked to have enjoyed the song a bit longer. On the other hand, most songs flow into each other so it is almost as if you are listening to an epic piece. References are almost too obvious: Fruitcake (the vocals), Anekdoten (the keyboards but in a lighter mood), Airbag (but a bit less smooth), a little bit of Beardfish (the heavier version of their last album), and even some Uriah Heep (the harmonies). This is nice heavy prog from the seventies played by a modern outfit which likes their Hammonds, good stuff.
***+André de Waal (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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